Mia Strubel Iram ’25 awarded Newman Civic Fellowship for community leadership

Strubel Iram was recognized for her work in dialogue facilitation and social justice.

Josey MacDonald ’25 29 May 2023 Posted In:
Mia Strubel Iram poses with a river and city landscape in the background.
Mia Strubel Iram ’25 Photo:

Mia Strubel Iram ’25 was recently named a Newman Civic Fellow in recognition of her leadership skills and community building work. The Newman Civic Fellowship is awarded each year by Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges dedicated to community engagement. The fellowship recognizes students who have created positive change in their communities, providing them with opportunities for learning, networking and growing their leadership skills.

Strubel Iram, a political science major, was nominated by President Alison Byerly for her work to facilitate dialogue across diverse communities.

“Mia has exercised tremendous leadership both on campus and in the local community,” wrote Byerly. “She is a natural community-builder.” 

As a fellow in the Center for Community and Civic Engagement’s (CCCE) Peace, Conflict and Democracy focus area, Strubel Iram has done extensive work with communities in the Northfield area and elsewhere. A trained dialogue facilitator through Students Engaging in Essential Dialogue (SEED), she recently led a collaboration between Carleton and WAANO, a nonprofit that supports Somali refugee students in Minnesota. 

She has also worked with Hands of Peace, an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue program, led multi-faith dialogue through the Council for Religious Understanding, and worked at Kuchinante, a collective for asylum-seeking African women. Strubel Iram also recently facilitated a discussion on campus titled “Does my vote really matter?” 

While these experiences are diverse and each issue is uniquely complex, Strubel Iram has found the power of dialogue and conversation to be a common thread.

“Seeing people come together and just listen and allow themselves to feel uncomfortable is very powerful,” she said. “I think at the end of the day that transpires in a lot of situations. Partially why I’m so interested in [dialogue facilitation] is I can find a lot of similarities no matter what issue I’m focusing on.”

Although she has always been interested in listening to others’ stories and perspectives, Strubel Iram’s background encouraged her love of social justice work. She grew up in a strong Jewish community and went to Camp Tavor, a social justice-oriented sleepaway camp in Michigan. She also has family connections to Israel and Palestine, which she says made her aware of problems of conflict and occupation at an early age. 

“In Judaism there’s a word—Tikkun Olam—which means fixing the world, making the world a better place,” she said. “I’ve grown up in environments that have really valued social justice and that has inspired me to continue to do that work.” 

The Newman Civic Fellowship will provide Strubel Iram with a local mentor, opportunities to share her work, skill development and connection to other student leaders across the country. 

“I’m looking forward to beginning the training process and to growing some different networking skills,” said Strubel Iram. “I’m also really excited to hear about the different peers that I’m going to be working with. They bring in really cool organizations and grassroots movements that will continue to grow my interest in this field of work.” 

The fellowship will no doubt provide Strubel Iram with opportunities to both amplify the positive changes she’s already made and inspire new work. When it seems like polarization is the only option, leaders like Strubel Iram step in and remind us of the power of finding middle ground, one conversation at a time.